Instructional Design Support

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Online Course Development

The Development Process

Southern Polytechnic State University (SPSU) uses a system for funding, developing, and reviewing online courses. This page provides a high level overview of this system.

Identifying the need

To begin, in most cases, department chairs and faculty collaboratively identify the need for new online courses. In this instance, the funding for these courses is paid for by the department developing the online courses.

On occasion, the Vice President for Academic Affairs (VPAA), the Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs (AVPAA), or the Office of Faculty Support and Development (OFSD) will also approach department chairs with suggested courses to develop. In this case, if the department is unable to fund such a course, funds are provided by the OFSD.


The funding for online courses originates from a tuition differential charged to students only taking fully online courses. This amount is determined by the number of credit hours and whether the course is an undergraduate or graduate level course.

A portion of this fee is distributed to the departments based on the number of approved online courses they develop and deliver. It is also based on the number of students they have enrolled in those online courses. This is typically the money used to fund the development of courses within a department that has an established online curriculum.

Once the course has been identified, and the funding is determined according to the Funding Guidelines, the following documents are completed by the department and the course developer and then returned to the OFSD:

Once these have been submitted, the developer begins working with the Instructional Design Unit, part of the OFSD, to develop the course.


SPSU supports the development of online courses by qualified developers. To develop an online course, the person should be:

The Instructional Design Unit provides priority support for online courses being developed. This includes training instructors in the use of emerging instructional technologies and the latest in pedagogical best practices.

Review Process

Before a developed course can be offered and the funds provided to the department, it must past the review process. There are three stages to the review process. The first is a subject matter review done by an appointed person from the department. The second stage sends the course to an external reviewer for an evaluation of the course. This review uses the SPSU Online Rubric to identify the strengths and weaknesses in the course. Once this review is complete, the course is either approved or sent back to the Instructional Design Unit for an additional internal review to ensure the course meets the standards.